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daniel.inforede

Project | Reconstruction research of the Atari 2600 game series.

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I have long wondered how Atari built the series of games and their versions. To this end, I started researching the subject.
My name is Daniel Medina and in this topic I would like to present my research project for the reconstruction of the Atari game series.

 

RECONSTITUTION OF ATARI 2600 GAME COLLECTIONS.
====================================

I developed a website with the purpose of supporting the project and the research, so that everyone can follow the updates of the information found.

On the website you will find all the explanation about the project, the method used, where to find the cataloged information and you will also be able to identify which games formed the series and their versions.

 

I use as a study base in the research information from any and all catalog numbers available in the game sets, I also use data from Atari documents, Internet pages and sealed or complete games for catalog records.

 

After a year of work, I defined as the initial indexing point for building a database, a number found in the boxes that I call PSN (PART SERIAL NUMBER), are found in the small tabs, usually along with the review. Through them I identify the series it belongs to and the game it contains.

 

I have already identified 495 versions of boxes and validated 185 of them, my intention is to open the community to validate other versions and discover new ones.

 

The idea is also that everyone can participate, sending version inclusions through channels like this forum or others that can be built in the future.

Now I would like to know your opinion.

 

Welcome to www.atariopenbox.com
 

 

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Pretty cool idea. Though quite daunting. Did you give consideration to separating the numbered cartridges that came in the gatefold boxes into their own section?

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Daniel has been helping me out with my site for a long time now. He has approached me with this project of his own, so I'm happy to help him. I will verify his specific versions as I have in inventory, but found something very interesting.

 

https://www.atariopenbox.com/atari-2600-colection/cart-text-label/box-c011822-v-1

 

(The above link is the box version I'm referring to). With the box release after the Gatefold boxes, which I've called the "Game Program", I mention in my site on the list about the printer on the tiny flap. Some of these Game Program boxes have the product number on the bottom tiny flap, but the other bottom tiny flap is blank (no printer). I then have some that have Bertco Graphics on the other tiny flap as the printer. The thing is, boxes with the Bertco Graphics printer has the product number, but in the middle part also lists a tiny number. "2", "3", and "6" in the particular cases I'm showing here. I presented Daniel with a question of whether or not these represented a "print run" in the boxes. Slot Racers has the 2. Is there a Slot Racers Game Program box version that has no printer and no tiny "2" on the flaps? Does this mean the "2" version is a 2nd printing of the boxes? Are there other printings of the Slot Racer boxes? Basketball I show I have a "3" and a "6" version. The box itself is IDENTICAL! I can find no differences between these 2 boxes whatsoever short of the different numbers. So look at the scans I've provided. If you have the "Game Program" versions of any of these games and can look at the bottom of the flaps, see if you have different numbers, or even "blank" versions with no printer.

 

Also, if you have any opinion on this theory, feel free to share. I never considered getting this in-depth with the variations. I may leave this up to Daniel if we can come up with a clearer conclusion. 

 

Phil

 

 

Slot Racers 001.jpg

Black Jack 001.jpg

Basketball1 001.jpg

Basketball2 001.jpg

Edited by Philflound
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19 hours ago, jeremiahjt said:

Pretty cool idea. Though quite daunting.

Thank you jeremiahjt, it is a really big project.

19 hours ago, jeremiahjt said:

Did you give consideration to separating the numbered cartridges that came in the gatefold boxes into their own section?

Yes they are separate, to see all versions of text label boxes go to:

https://www.atariopenbox.com/atari-2600-colection/cart-text-label

 

Regards;
Daniel

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3 hours ago, Philflound said:

Daniel has been helping me out with my site for a long time now. He has approached me with this project of his own, so I'm happy to help him.

Thank you so much Phil, your work at Videogamevariations is amazing!

3 hours ago, Philflound said:

(The above link is the box version I'm referring to). With the box release after the Gatefold boxes, which I've called the "Game Program", I mention in my site on the list about the printer on the tiny flap. Some of these Game Program boxes have the product number on the bottom tiny flap, but the other bottom tiny flap is blank (no printer). I then have some that have Bertco Graphics on the other tiny flap as the printer. The thing is, boxes with the Bertco Graphics printer has the product number, but in the middle part also lists a tiny number. "2", "3", and "6" in the particular cases I'm showing here. I presented Daniel with a question of whether or not these represented a "print run" in the boxes. Slot Racers has the 2. Is there a Slot Racers Game Program box version that has no printer and no tiny "2" on the flaps? Does this mean the "2" version is a 2nd printing of the boxes? Are there other printings of the Slot Racer boxes? Basketball I show I have a "3" and a "6" version. The box itself is IDENTICAL! I can find no differences between these 2 boxes whatsoever short of the different numbers. So look at the scans I've provided. If you have the "Game Program" versions of any of these games and can look at the bottom of the flaps, see if you have different numbers, or even "blank" versions with no printer.

On this subject cited (lower number. "2", "3" and "6"), I believe that it will be one of the doubts that the research may reveal from the massive inclusion of records.

 

We have some findings in your sample such as:
The box may have been printed at a certain time and the numbering at another (note that the numbers identified on the same tab are not aligned and are not even the same typography. So we can have up to 3 different printing periods on the same material.

 

I believe that the boxes also had editions (as well as books and other printed products) and this is characterized at various times in the history of the game series, either by the date of printing or the type of opening of the box.

 

About Basket I have a "2 BERTCO (08 78)" and you showed two records "3 and 6 BERTCO (08 78)". I aligned the tabs in an image and none has the number in the same print location and not the same inclination. I think it characterizes the different moments of impression.

 

684879265_C011822-basket_numeroscomplementares.thumb.jpg.76349783f88ba85aca0c4b6a56f5e997.jpg

 

PS: I already validated the Slot Racer in the Game Program version, now there are 12 validated out of 20.

 

Hugs;
Daniel

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1 hour ago, daniel.inforede said:

Thank you so much Phil, your work at Videogamevariations is amazing!

On this subject cited (lower number. "2", "3" and "6"), I believe that it will be one of the doubts that the research may reveal from the massive inclusion of records.

 

We have some findings in your sample such as:
The box may have been printed at a certain time and the numbering at another (note that the numbers identified on the same tab are not aligned and are not even the same typography. So we can have up to 3 different printing periods on the same material.

 

I believe that the boxes also had editions (as well as books and other printed products) and this is characterized at various times in the history of the game series, either by the date of printing or the type of opening of the box.

 

About Basket I have a "2 BERTCO (08 78)" and you showed two records "3 and 6 BERTCO (08 78)". I aligned the tabs in an image and none has the number in the same print location and not the same inclination. I think it characterizes the different moments of impression.

 

684879265_C011822-basket_numeroscomplementares.thumb.jpg.76349783f88ba85aca0c4b6a56f5e997.jpg

 

PS: I already validated the Slot Racer in the Game Program version, now there are 12 validated out of 20.

 

Hugs;
Daniel

Don't forget the other 2 I mentioned. I didn't scan them. Did you want scans? They were Hangman and Hunt & Score. I own 2 Hunt & Score boxed copies and both had the same tiny flaps that matched. I probably will have Air Sea Battle too as I have several boxed copies of that of different variations.

 

By the way, was your Basketball with the "2" also Bertco Graphics 8/78?

 

I was thinking about the theory of the tiny numbers. It may have something to do with possible stacks of printed boxes. Like batches. So the first batch may have a tiny "1" and consist of say 5000 boxes. Then the next batch may have tiny "2" and consist of the next 5000 boxes. My uncle is a paper cutter, and though never cut Atari boxes, he did cut trading cards for Topps. I'm wondering if there were something to distinguish which run they were from.

Edited by Philflound
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1 hour ago, Philflound said:

Don't forget the other 2 I mentioned. I didn't scan them. Did you want scans? They were Hangman and Hunt & Score. I own 2 Hunt & Score boxed copies and both had the same tiny flaps that matched. I probably will have Air Sea Battle too as I have several boxed copies of that of different variations.

I would like the Hangman and Hunt & Score scans.

 

1 hour ago, Philflound said:

By the way, was your Basketball with the "2" also Bertco Graphics 8/78?

My basketball too is Bertco Graphics

 

1 hour ago, Philflound said:

I was thinking about the theory of the tiny numbers. It may have something to do with possible stacks of printed boxes. Like batches. So the first batch may have a tiny "1" and consist of say 5000 boxes. Then the next batch may have tiny "2" and consist of the next 5000 boxes. My uncle is a paper cutter, and though never cut Atari boxes, he did cut trading cards for Topps. I'm wondering if there were something to distinguish which run they were from.

It's a good line of reasoning from you. For the quality control of the industry it would be good, it helps to identify the lot that belonged to the box.

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Since the printed rainbow arc of "2/3/ / /6" layout closely resembles the year+month format found on later manuals, I always assumed that was just the month it was printed.  They were unlikely to do multiple full production runs within the same month, so that would be easy enough to track down which production run was which.  Would help if there was some with 7-12 prints out there as well for verification...

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19 hours ago, Kirkland said:

Since the printed rainbow arc of "2/3/ / /6" layout closely resembles the year+month format found on later manuals, I always assumed that was just the month it was printed.  They were unlikely to do multiple full production runs within the same month, so that would be easy enough to track down which production run was which.  Would help if there was some with 7-12 prints out there as well for verification...

Kirkland, thanks for the contribution. On the project website (Atari Openbox) there is a link showing about dates and printers in boxes, labels and manuals: https://www.atariopenbox.com/about-help

 

@Philflound posted a video with great information about the evolution of the Atari 2600 boxes that I recommend everyone to watch: https://youtu.be/HuywSZVbDmQ 

 

 

Edited by daniel.inforede

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On 10/4/2020 at 7:10 PM, Kirkland said:

Since the printed rainbow arc of "2/3/ / /6" layout closely resembles the year+month format found on later manuals, I always assumed that was just the month it was printed.  They were unlikely to do multiple full production runs within the same month, so that would be easy enough to track down which production run was which.  Would help if there was some with 7-12 prints out there as well for verification...

I've never seen any number higher than a 6. I believe at one time the variation list mentioned the tiny numbers on Sky Diver. I think I removed it because I found it really didn't serve a purpose. I think more research needs to be done with this. Maybe by studying and seeing which titles have this slight variation, possibly we can figure out why they are there. Maybe Random Terrain has an idea. Someone shoot him a PM to see what he thinks?

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57 minutes ago, Philflound said:

I've never seen any number higher than a 6. I believe at one time the variation list mentioned the tiny numbers on Sky Diver. I think I removed it because I found it really didn't serve a purpose. I think more research needs to be done with this. Maybe by studying and seeing which titles have this slight variation, possibly we can figure out why they are there. Maybe Random Terrain has an idea. Someone shoot him a PM to see what he thinks?

It would be an excellent name to contribute, @Random Terrain is a reference and a profound researcher. I would like to hear his opinion!

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Wow, that brings back some memories, if only 5 years ago. I can't believe I had only started working on printer dates back in 2014. Seems like I would have had done it earlier. I'm wondering if the tiny number has to do with what Ranthulfr had said about position with the Chopper Command and traceability. Again, I've only seen up to 6 of the tiny numbers on the Atari flap. Hopefully Daniel is keeping a record of everything we're discovering about these tiny numbers.

 

@Random Terrain Looking at what you had posted in that thread, you had said that you were looking for all Rev 1 boxes for the earliest release. Now years later, we see that there are certain titles that only had Rev 4 releases, or maybe no Rev on the boxes. I'll be reviewing your site for the game releases as I'm mentioning websites with Atari information in my videos and putting in the comments others. I'm assuming you wouldn't have a problem with me listing your site for viewers/collectors to go to learn about when Atari released their games. LMK otherwise. That video will be airing next weekend. Thanks.

 

Phil

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29 minutes ago, Philflound said:

Wow, that brings back some memories, if only 5 years ago. I can't believe I had only started working on printer dates back in 2014. Seems like I would have had done it earlier. I'm wondering if the tiny number has to do with what Ranthulfr had said about position with the Chopper Command and traceability. Again, I've only seen up to 6 of the tiny numbers on the Atari flap. Hopefully Daniel is keeping a record of everything we're discovering about these tiny numbers.

 

@Random Terrain Looking at what you had posted in that thread, you had said that you were looking for all Rev 1 boxes for the earliest release. Now years later, we see that there are certain titles that only had Rev 4 releases, or maybe no Rev on the boxes. I'll be reviewing your site for the game releases as I'm mentioning websites with Atari information in my videos and putting in the comments others. I'm assuming you wouldn't have a problem with me listing your site for viewers/collectors to go to learn about when Atari released their games. LMK otherwise. That video will be airing next weekend. Thanks.

 

Phil

 

Yeah, my Yars' Revenge box has REV. 3 on it and I got the game when it was new in May of 1982. And about my web site, I don't have a problem with it, just realize that the games on those pages can move to different months as more information is found.

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On 10/6/2020 at 12:45 AM, Random Terrain said:

Pretty much everything I know I got from this post:

 

 

Random Terrain, you made an excellent contribution, this is one of the posts that inspires me to work on my research line.

About the tab information: I believe that while one tab presents information about the printing industry as a company and date of manufacture of the box, on the other tab we find information regarding the gaming industry such as serial number, corresponding game number and rev. version.

 

In parallel with the capture of records, I will update the information and evidence found through this post.

I reiterate the invitation to everyone who can send images of the tabs of the missing games containing the game registration and Rev., it will help, thank you.

 

Daniel

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16 hours ago, Philflound said:

Wow, that brings back some memories, if only 5 years ago. I can't believe I had only started working on printer dates back in 2014. Seems like I would have had done it earlier. I'm wondering if the tiny number has to do with what Ranthulfr had said about position with the Chopper Command and traceability. Again, I've only seen up to 6 of the tiny numbers on the Atari flap. Hopefully Daniel is keeping a record of everything we're discovering about these tiny numbers.

It seems to me that the information posted by Ranthurf reinforces, where each printing company has its form of registration and traceability. This topic really helps a lot in building dates!
 

number_raster.jpg.84456734249e5e7f7766e9e5e8813073.jpg

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About the box records, their versions and variations:
===================================

To better exemplify the crossing of records and information I will use the box versions of the black label series from the game Asteroids.
Black label series: https://www.atariopenbox.com/atari-2600-colection/cart-black-label

 

Box version G-C017039 v.1 (white background warranty box, © outside warranty box)
https://www.atariopenbox.com/atari-2600-colection/cart-black-label/box-g-c017039-v-1

It was identified in this version of the game Asteroids so far only the variation of the Glued Flap box opening, in the tab contains Rev.1 and so far I have not identified any cartridge with a date stamp on END LABEL.

  • GLUED FLAP: BERTCO GRAPHICS 05/81 and G-C017039-49 REV.1 without DS (Date Stamp) in END LABEL.

 

Box version G-C017039 v.2 (white background warranty box, © inside warranty box)

https://www.atariopenbox.com/atari-2600-colection/cart-black-label/box-g-c017039-v-2

This box version of the Asteroids black label series, was found in three opening variations: Standard Flap, Glued Flap and Tap Flap.

  • STANDARD FLAP: ADAPK SAN FRANCISCO 9/81, 10/81 G-C017039-49 REV.2 without DS at END LABEL
  • GLUED FLAP: ADAPK SAN FRANCISCO 07/81 and G-C017039-49 REV.2 and small number (1), without DS (Date Stamp) in END LABEL.
  • GLUED FLAP: BERTCO GRAPHICS 07 and 09/81 and G-C017039-49 REV.2 and small number (6), on the cartridge I identified labels with DS (*Date Stamp) and without DS (Date Stamp) in END LABEL.
  • TAP FLAP: NO REGISTRATION INFORMATION (I need information about this variation).

All versions contain white manual and black label. However, there were different manufacturing cycles. I have dated a range of 03 years of label printing only in the box version G-C017039 v.2.


* DATE STAMP REGISTERED (May 1981 -> October 1984):
1981 -> 22 1 - 32 1 - 33 1 - 35 1 R - 36 1 R - 43 1
1982 -> 01 2 - 1 2 - 02 2 - 05 2 - 11 2 R (BOLD) - 12 2 R - 22 2 - 22 2 R (BOLD) - 49 2 R (BOLD)
1984 -> 13 4 - 13 4 R - 18 4 - 19 4 (BOLD) - 20 4 - 23 4 (BOLD) - 24 4 (BOLD) -  25 4 R - 41 4
 

Edited by daniel.inforede
Registry fix (PSN)
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OK, here is my first submission. I would guess there are not many of these are floating around. 

 

Atari Inc. Multi-Language NTSC Blue Box Slot Racers.

 

This is such a beautiful box. Far superior color choice than the original brown colored box IMO. 

Photo Oct 08, 4 15 13 PM.jpg

Photo Oct 08, 4 14 59 PM.jpg

Photo Oct 08, 4 14 21 PM.jpg

Photo Oct 08, 4 14 01 PM.jpg

Photo Oct 08, 4 13 31 PM.jpg

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You can find some answers as to how many revisions of Atari Inc. boxes exist by using the Atari Engineering Information System Item Master List, from January of 1984. Heads up: it's a relatively big PDF, over 100MB.

 

Using Asteroids as an example, find part number CO17039-49, and check the REV LVL column. As of January 1984, three revisions existed. It's possible that other revisions were manufactured prior to the sale/restructuring that led to Atari Corp, so these figures should not be taken as definitive. That being said, there were only a few months between this list and the genesis of Atari Corp, and I'd guess it's pretty unlikely that many box revisions were produced at that point, if any.

 

asteroids.thumb.PNG.bbd22793013182f6889b90ef4be10c27.PNG

 

(I think the "LAST ECN" column refers to "Last Engineering Change Notices", but I don't think that they're helpful to this cause.)

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1 hour ago, Ballblaɀer said:

You can find some answers as to how many revisions of Atari Inc. boxes exist by using the Atari Engineering Information System Item Master List, from January of 1984. Heads up: it's a relatively big PDF, over 100MB.

Hello Ballblaɀer this is one of the documents that I use when crossing data in my research, including the same date version, I believe that there is a later one, I think that April 1984, Curt Vendel quotes at some point in his posts.

 

1 hour ago, Ballblaɀer said:

Using Asteroids as an example, find part number CO17039-49, and check the REV LVL column. As of January 1984, three revisions existed. It's possible that other revisions were manufactured prior to the sale/restructuring that led to Atari Corp, so these figures should not be taken as definitive. That being said, there were only a few months between this list and the genesis of Atari Corp, and I'd guess it's pretty unlikely that many box revisions were produced at that point, if any.

Excellent point of view, I totally agree with you on this aspect. The exact point is that we cannot consider the information as definitive, many times a certain version or game was not released just for commercial reasons.

 

Initially I do not intend to list revisions of versions, copyrights of cartridges or boxes. I believe that showing the community the research project and collecting the existing versions will provide a basis for the construction of the sets in the future.

 

Thank you very much for your contribution, if you have any of the records on the list to validate, please send.

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21 hours ago, groundtrooper said:

OK, here is my first submission. I would guess there are not many of these are floating around. 

Atari Inc. Multi-Language NTSC Blue Box Slot Racers.

This is such a beautiful box. Far superior color choice than the original brown colored box IMO. 

Beautiful version of Slot Racers, I'm fascinated by multiple language versions, especially when they receive a different color in the box like Berzerk, Canyon Bomber, Warlords, Video Pinball. Monday I will update the files.

Thank you very much for your contribution and all your Groundtrooper support.
Hugs

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After all, when were the text labels modified for images on the Atari 2600 cartridges?
========================================================

Throughout the research, I find versions of boxes carrying at the same time cartridges with text labels and labels with images, so some doubts inhabit my thoughts: After all, when did the labels change? Can a box version carry both types of labels? Could this mix happen through sales? And to answer, I follow in the footsteps ...

 

Going back in time and space.
====================

More precisely at the launch of the third version of the Atari 2600 game box (November 1978 - June 1981), version C014060 (guarantee with bottom of the same color of the box and © outside).

For a long time Atari has used this version for sales, with a total of thirty-six games registered so far, initially thirty-five with the text label series and an image label!

Many games were released in the period of this release, including: 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe, Adventure, Backgammon, Basic Programming, Championship Soccer, Circus Atari, Dodge 'Em, Golf, Maze Craze, Night Driver, Othello, Space Invaders , Superman, Video Checkers, Video Chess, Video Pinball.

Large businesses are never simple, with the need for change an even more doubt arises. After all what to do with the leftover material from the graphic change? A pause for reflection. And I catch a glimpse of a moment I call transition, light at the end of the tunnel!

 

A new label series is born and a new box version is added.
======================================

Along with the arrival of the new series of labels, it is launched in a new box version, version G-C017039 v. 1 (guarantee with white background and © outside). The boxes were manufactured from March 1981 to May 1981 and receive rev. 1 in the registry.

Three classics are released along with this version, they are: Asteroids, Missile Command and Warlords. Eight games released in the previous version, receive the picture label: Adventure, Circus Atari, Dodge´Em Golf, Night Driver, Space Invaders and Superman. And with a new label, Championship Soccer is now called Pele´s Soccer! And Atari also distributes in this version many text labels such as: Slot Racers, Space Invaders and Street Racer, among others.

 

My conclusions
===========

At the time of the arrival of the new series of labels, Atari needed to create a transition way to dispose of the stocked manufacturing items such as the labels, manuals and boxes of the old version. Therefore, the transition occurred between the versions of boxes C014060 and G-C017039 v. 1, from 1981.
I hope I contributed, good weekend to everyone!

Edited by daniel.inforede
Updating page links

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